There was a time when some folks said of TV: "That garbage will rot your brain." Haters! But brain rot is real, and it's smartphones and video games we should be worried about.
A new report out of South Korea — one of the most digitally connected countries in the world — finds that people are using smartphones and gaming consoles so much their brains are turning into gooey, non-functioning messes. As Julian Ryall writes for the Telegraph, it's called "digital dementia"…
…a term coined in South Korea – meaning a deterioration in cognitive abilities that is more commonly seen in people who have suffered a head injury or psychiatric illness.
The report claims that young people have become so reliant on electronic devices that they can no longer remember things like their own phone numbers. But wait: If you don't have to remember phone numbers, doesn't that mean there's free space in your brain for other things?
Byun Gi-won, a doctor at the Balance Brain Centre in Seoul, doesn't see it that way, telling the Telegraph:
"Over-use of smartphones and game devices hampers the balanced development of the brain… Heavy users are likely to develop the left side of their brains, leaving the right side untapped or underdeveloped."
The right side is where stuff like concentration, memory span and attention live, so if it's under-developed, you may have trouble with focus or remembering anything, and, um, where was I?
Oh yeah: In addition to messing with memory, over-use of digital devices can also cause one to suffer "emotional underdevelopment," which means a whole generation (more than 64% of teenagers in South Korea have smartphones) might suffer in ways we can't begin to imagine. But I just got a high score of 307 in Dots, so I can't even think about that right now.